Have you been served with a Notice of Opposition to your trademark application? If so, yours is one of hundreds of trademark opposition proceedings that are filed against trademark applicants every year. Always consider taking the following steps upon receiving a Notice of Opposition:
1. Contact a Trademark Opposition Lawyer
Trademark Oppositions are exclusively heard before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The rules that govern trademark opposition proceedings may be found in the Trademark Board Manual of Procedure, a publication of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Given the complexity of such proceedings, it is always advisable to speak with a qualified trademark opposition attorney immediately. The failure to answer a Notice of Opposition within 40 days can result in a default judgment against the trademark owner, with the trademark opposition being sustained and your trademark application being refused registration.
2. Educate Yourself
Defending a trademark opposition can be costly. This is because trademark oppositions, like other civil litigation matters, are contested proceedings between a plaintiff and defendant. You can expect the trademark opposition to have three distinct phases, each with its specific evidentiary rules and requirements: (a) pleadings (b) discovery; and (c) trial. Each phase involves a great deal of time and expense, and depending on the nature of the proceeding, can also involve the use of expert testimony. Be sure to have full familarity with what may be expected of you as a trademark opposition litigant.
3. Discuss Your Options
Always have your trademark lawyer discuss the various options that may be available to you at the beginning of the trademark opposition case. This may include engaging the Opposer in settlement discussions, or submitting the case to Alternative Dispute Resolution arbitration under the auspices of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. In certain instances, neither of the above options may be the right one, and fully litigating the case on the merits may be necessary to protect your vaiuable trademark rights.
To discuss you trademark opposition matter, feel free to contact me at (800) TMLAW-01.